Variety Central: Featured Fashions
A fresh look at plants and merchandising driving sales.
September 24, 2008
Opera Supreme is a new series of trailing petunia from American Takii, which includes the 2007 AAS winner, Pink Morn. Opera Supreme has a low, trailing habit and will spread to a width of four feet. This series produces massive quantities of flowers from the tips of the trailing branches to the center of the plant. Profuse flowering over the entire plant and low-growing habit make Opera Supreme a nice choice for both large containers and baskets. They continue to be spectacular through the entire growing season. Available in eight colors: Blue, Coral, Lavender, Lilac Ice, Pink Morn, Purple, Salmon and White.
Alabama Sunset is one of the first Beds & Borders Container Collections, a unique program designed to effectively merchandise and market professionally designed container plantings in one simple unit. Designed for full-sun conditions, Alabama Sunset features agastache, coleus, centaurea, arctotis, petunia, scaevola, alternanthera, angelonia and helichrysum. Beds & Borders will be debuting its new 2008 container collection at Fashion In Bloom.
Plants That Work By Color from Novalis brings world-class genetics to gardeners in a wide range of colors and forms. Retailers and homeowners will have new and unique options for year-round color, with more than 150 varieties that make spectacular beds, borders and containers and are available in quart-sized, 6-pack carrying trays.
Prides Corner Farms will feature displays of popular branded plants. The American Beauties native plant program can help position your garden center as a friend of the environment, while also allowing you to jump on board a hot gardening trend. The American Beauties program and its display materials also encourage sales of entire gardens of plants, and help you cross-merchandise with other wildlife products.
Selecta’s all-new Sanvitalia procumbens ‘Tsavo Double Gold’ offers golden double flowers that open with a green center that turns dark brown. ‘Tsavo Double Gold’ has a low-medium vigor, a mounding habit and flowers early. Its mounding shape stays true to form all summer long. It performs well all season long, as well, making it a great item for mixed baskets and containers.
Surdiva scaevola is a brand-new genus in the Suntory Collection product line. It’s a breeding creation from Bonza, the newly formed company that combines the collaborative breeding efforts of Suntory of Japan and Oasis from Australia. Growers will be able to finish Surdiva in 4-inch, 6-inch and other small containers, due to a bushy, mounding habit and short internodes that give the plant a very controlled form, all without pinching or the use of growth regulators. It is heat-tolerant, with continuous flowering even through the worst of summer.
Hemerocallis x ‘Mean Mister Mustard’ from Centerton Nursery has a look not seen in northern gardens until now. It’s a mustard-yellow, 6-inch flower with heavy cinnamon colors, a double edge of purple-brown to golden-yellow and a wine-red eyezone above a yellow to green throat. Scapes are 26 inches, each with three to four branches and 30 or more buds. It’s an early- to mid-season bloomer and will rebloom in September for a 70-plus day bloom season. Centerton is building a marketing and merchandising program around ‘Mean Mr. Mustard’ with special labels, coordinating pots and POP materials.
Hines Horticulture is fulfilling demand for hot tropicals with the introduction of the Bahama Bay series of hibiscus. Bred by Houston breeder Barry Schlueter, the Bahama Bay series is unique in that it is produced on its own roots. The series produces large, multi-colored flowers on plants that grow 4 to 6 feet tall in the landscape or just 3 to 4 feet when used as a patio plant. Most varieties in the series bloom for one day and some bloom for two days. The Bahama Bay series is available in 16 varieties.
Monrovia’s Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Strawberries & Cream’ has large, 10-inch wide flowers with delicate petals alternating between hot and pale pink, surrounding a glowing-red center. These sun lovers are long blooming and have a strong, upright and rounded form. Shiny green foliage and a fast-growing habit make ‘Strawberries & Cream’ an excellent addition to a shrub or perennial border. It is compact at 3 to 4 feet tall and wide and hardy down to -30ËšF.
Overdevest Nurseries’ Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ boasts all green-gold leaves and reaches a mature height and width of 14 inches by 10 inches. This ornamental grass is best used in the landscape, but can also stand alone when used as an accent plant or a focal point in a planting bed, especially when planted en masse. It’s a terrific variety for partial shade conditions. Hardy to Zone 6.
Valleybrook Gardens has worked with Terra Nova Nurseries to introduce ‘Tiki Torch.’ For a different twist on echinacea, ‘Tiki Torch’ offers large, bright, pumpkin-orange flowers. The wonderful color combined with this coneflower’s upright, well-branched stems and vigorous growth make it a fantastic new plant. Hardy to Zone 4.
Exclusively from Bailey Nurseries, First Editions ‘Firegold’ spirea stands out because of its brilliant lemon-lime foliage. New growth is soft yellow changing to lemon, and finally to lime-green. White flowers appear in spring along gracefully arching branches. The color is stable and is most brilliant in full sun. Yellow-orange fall color extends the season of interest. Used in foundations, shrub borders and as an informal hedge or accent. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.
‘Sunny Knock Out’ is the first shrub rose to be introduced by Conard-Pyle and bred by Bill Radler that has a significant amount of fragrance. The single yellow blooms fade to a soft yellow and then cleanly drop from the plant. Its disease resistance is excellent. The habit is a little more upright than the original Knock Out, and the blooms are held more at the top of the plant. ‘Sunny Knock Out’ reaches about 4 feet by the end of one growing season.
EuroAmerican Propagators is adding new varieties to its extensive line of Savvy Succulents. Among them is a low-growing, mounding succulent, Aeonium ‘Kiwi,’ growing to just 6 to 12 inches. It forms rosettes of fleshy, spoon-shaped leaves that are uniquely colored with yellows, chartreuses, pinks and reds. Yellow flowers bloom from spring through fall, when new growth appears. This succulent prefers morning sun and is suited to rock gardens and mixed containers and also works well in the landscape.
HERBS AND VEGETABLES
Plug Connection is meeting consumer demand for organic and sustainable products with its new Organiks program of certified organic herbs and vegetables. The collection offers popular plants such as rosemary, basil and tomatoes that are grown in 3¹/²-inch biodegradable pots. The pots are shipped to retail in environmentally friendly Ship & Show display boxes with plant tags, ready for retail display.
Ellen Wells is a freelance writer with Flower Ink horticultural communications firm. You can e-mail her at email@example.com.